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Sinn Féin have said that they are putting a motion forward to Newry Mourne and Down Council when they will discuss concerns relating to an ongoing protest by anti abortion campaigners at the entrance to Daisy Hill Hospital.

The proposed motion to the Council will also ask that Newry Mourne and Down Council write to Health Minister Robin Swann and Justice Minister Naomi Long urging them to take steps to ensure that any member of the public accessing Healthcare services, be entitled to do so in a safe and secure environment,free of trauma.

Daisy Hill Hospital. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie
Daisy Hill Hospital. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie

Protestors from Precious Life and other organisations have staged a regular protest at the Health Clinic in John Mitchel Place and following removal of early medical abortion services from there, the protestors have moved to the road outside Daisy Hill Hospital.

Speaking about the protest Slieve Croob Councillor, Cllr Róisín Howell said “In recent weeks at John Mitchell Place and now Daisyhill Hospital, patients and family’s wishing to avail of the Healthcare services on offer at both these sites have had to face walking the gauntlet of distressing images, placards and slogans.

Cllr Róisín Howell



This is certainly not something that any person should have to face when accessing healthcare, particularly those that have suffered miscarriages or accessing mental health and well being services.

Daisy Hill Hospital provides a vast range of services, including support for women who have suffered miscarriage and stillbirth, no women or member of healthcare staff should face this type of disturbing abuse  when accessing the facility”.

Councillor Howell continued “It is completely unacceptable that women or indeed any member of the public accessing any type of health care should have to face this distressing situation whilst  on their way to appointments, especially those who may be dealing with already very difficult, physical, mental  and emotional circumstances”.

Councillor Oonagh Magennis, echoing her colleagues sentiments said“The distressing  scenes witnessed  outside John Mitchell Place Healthcare Village a month ago have unfortunately now moved to right outside the entrance to Daisy Hill Hospital. 

"Patients and staff are rightly extremely annoyed that they can’t attend appointments or work without being confronted by horrific posters and slogans." 

Cllr Oonagh Magennis

Cllr Magennis concluded “Both the Health and Justice Ministers need to act to ensure that these types of  protests are somehow dealt with by the authorities. Everyone has a right to protest, however there is no excuse for the causing of distress to women and children and  I would sincerely hope that this motion to Council will be unanimously supported by all”.

Meanwhile Newry and Armagh  MLA Liz Kimmins has confirmed that she has written to both the Justice and Health Ministers asking them to introduce exclusion zones or safe zones outside healthcare sites to ensure anyone accessing health care whether staff or patients can do so in a safe and secure way.

Liz Kimmins, MLA for Newry and Armagh.

Cllr Kimmins said "A diverse range of people access many services in Daisy Hill Hospital. No one needing  to attend Healthcare services should feel fearful or indeed threatened by any type of protest no matter what the issue.

"I have been contacted by many distressed people. I am absolutely disgusted with what they have told me about the very graphic images and scenes they have been confronted by."

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